Meet Tanzanian/Canadian Artist Alysha Brilla

Alysha Brilla is a critically acclaimed Tanzanian-Canadian multi-disciplinary artist known for her musical mix of jazz, world and pop.  

Brilla performs on both guitar and piano. Her playful lyrics and on stage banter have garnered the attention of audiences internationally, check out her video sailor's wife. 

Alysha was recently Interviewed by Okay Africa where she talked about incorporating Swahili in her Music, Her Heritage and more

Her Connection to Tanzania and why she identifies herself as a Canadian-Tanzanian
A:I am very proud of my heritage and my connection to Tanzania is through my father, who was born in Mwanza and raised in Dar Es Salaam. Growing up in Toronto, I would hear stories about Tanzania and my father’s childhood and it seemed fascinating and far away.
As I’ve got older, however, I realized how impactful my father’s birthplace and upbringing have been on myself and my values. My sense of self and musical sensibilities have definitely been shaped by it. I’ve been exposed to such a multitude of beautiful music and that has influenced my songwriting and performance style. My father actually grew up playing in a couple of bands in Dar Es Salaam and his love for Afro/world/jazz opened my eyes in many ways.

The Inspiration Behind her Album 
A:I was about to record an album and I had eleven pretty upbeat songs in the vein of my jazzy/pop style, when in the middle of production, I went through a really devastating breakup and had my heart broken. I was pretty torn apart, but like most artists, I ended up writing about it. Suddenly I had all of these new songs about the breakup. I had to honour where I was in that moment, so I decided to pick a couple of songs I had planned for the original record and all of these new songs I really felt and loved and put them into a record. That’s why the heartache was sort of sandwiched in the middle of happy Alysha before and happy Alysha now. I feel like most of us live our lives in cycles and this album represents that

About incorporating Swahili on her Album, Writing Performing and Produced her Records, how she masters all three.

A: I love the language. I think it sounds and sings beautiful. My father helped me write some of it, as I am always trying to learn more Swahili. Nimeshika ulimwengu katika mikono yangu. Although my lyrics may not sound political, I am a big believer in the power of the individual and to me, “Nobody” is a chant to that sentiment. I have been writing and performing since I was 14 and even producing demos in my bedroom here and there. I absolutely love composing, arranging and weaving sounds together. I had been in and out of a major record deal and had lived in Los Angeles for about two years. I am fortunate enough to have worked beside some amazing producers and every time, I would be taking notes. When it came time to make this record independently, I knew I wanted to produce because there was a unique sound I wanted to preserve and a process by which I knew how to get it. I had no idea how much work it was going to be until I began the process. I had so much fun making it, though, that despite the fact that upon completion I felt like I’d lost a limb, I started thinking about my next record. I would love to produce for others one day, too. There aren’t many female producers in the business and I would love to be one of them.